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Nearly Engaged…Then Busted

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Hi Chump Lady,

Hoping to get some perspective from an outside source instead of having my friends and family in my ears (all of which five different advice).

The greatest man I have ever met has been living with me for 3.5 years, being together 4.5 years in total. We just went ring browsing last weekend so he could ensure to pick out something I would like. Found out four days ago that he’s been getting off to random women on a cheaters app, Kik. He says he’s been doing this for about a year intermittently. He said he does it when we’re in a rut to feel attention and desired. I didn’t even know we were ever in a rut.

Anyways, I freaked out and said it’s over and since then he has been doing things that show me that he knows he fucked up and that he loves me more than anything in this lifetime and will do anything and everything to get me back. He had a very important work thing that he bailed on the morning of (was a four-week thing and now everyone at his work knows there’s something going on, which he hates people knowing his business), and he’s seeing a therapist.

Is this enough? I feel like either he’ll determine he wasn’t as happy as he let on or that he has a straight up sex addiction. I could foresee us trying to make it work if it was a sex addiction, but do I want that kind of life? And can a man ever really recover from this or will it continue for the rest of our life?

Signed,

Desperate for good news, but aware that’s unlikely.

Dear Desperate,

Here’s the good news: You aren’t married to him. You haven’t bred with him. You don’t have a mortgage together.

Right now he’s a life lesson. He’s 4.5 years of sunk costs. He’s a dream that died. A crushing disappointment. A future you hoped for that won’t be realized (with HIM). An un-purchased ring. This is all survivable.

Do NOT invest further. Do NOT make this dodged bullet a lodged bullet in your heart.

It. Does. Not. Get. Better. He is NOT relationship material. (Yesterday’s column to wit — he’s no Marty Ginsburg.)

How do I know this from four scant paragraphs?

He said he does it when we’re in a rut to feel attention and desired. I didn’t even know we were ever in a rut.

“We”?!

We’re in a rut? See the blameshifting there? If you don’t provide happy, happy good times all the time, why his dick may wander! Be ever vigilant! You don’t want the happiness index sliding. Never know what he might do if he’s feeling rut-ish. (Go rutting?)

That’s NOT a relationship. That’s a hostage situation. You forever off-balance wondering about these mysterious ruts you cannot perceive.

Oh, but he could communicate them.

Is THAT better? “Hey Desperate, I’m feeling a bit glum. I really don’t like the way you made coffee. I think I’ll go create some dating profiles. That will cheer me up!”

You think I’m being snarky. THIS IS THE WAY HIS MIND WORKS. He just TOLD YOU THIS. PAY ATTENTION.

He’s not happy? It’s YOUR fault. He does something despicable? You compelled him to do it. Improve yourself. Dance harder.

And as a recently minted 54-year-old woman who’s seen some life, let me tell you — he’s not in a “rut.” Dating, engagement, honeymoon, youth — this is when life is GOOD. This is not cancer. Or death. Or baby vomit in your hair and 37 sleepless nights. This is courtship. It’s dining out and fucking, which culminates with ring shopping and party planning. This is the APEX. And the poor sausage has a sadz? Really?

He said he does it when we’re in a rut to feel attention and desired.

So he devalues YOUR attention and desire for him from online randos. What about your need to feel attention and desired? I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait in line behind Spankypants83 and Kimmy4ever. He Had Needs. That trump yours. Enjoy the power imbalance. (Also the STDs, the missing money… read a few million stories here.)

Anyways, I freaked out and said it’s over and since then he has been doing things that show me that he knows he fucked up

Oh wow. He had a realization that he fucked up. Earth-shattering cognition on display.

that he loves me more than anything in this lifetime

That’s why he’s spent a year dating other women behind your back.

and will do anything and everything to get me back.

Until he feels in a rut.

Look, if he valued you, he wouldn’t cheat on you. Wanting you “back” is not a promise to value you (although I know it feels that way, especially when your heart is shattered) — it’s saying you’re still of use to him.

Also, Unicorns 101 here — the fact that he feels ENTITLED to reconciliation — to have you back — means he does not get it. He should realize that his behavior is a deal breaker. That he is owed NOTHING. That he should pressure you about NOTHING. The fact that he doesn’t respect your very healthy “it’s over” demonstrates it’s still all about HIM.

He had a very important work thing that he bailed on the morning of (was a four-week thing and now everyone at his work knows there’s something going on, which he hates people knowing his business)

Oh, how hard for him. You were just set up and cheated on, and he had a career kerfuffle. People might know something about his business? No, that doesn’t sound shady as fuck.

I feel like either he’ll determine he wasn’t as happy as he let on or that he has a straight up sex addiction. I could foresee us trying to make it work if it was a sex addiction, but do I want that kind of life? And can a man ever really recover from this or will it continue for the rest of our life?

The ONLY question here is “Do you want that kind of life”?

Chump Nation’s reply is a resounding NO. Everything else is untangling his skein, and really who cares if he’s happy or what makes his dick hard. What matters is YOU — is this relationship acceptable to you?

Let’s recap: He’s blameshifting, deceitful, and manipulative.

You set the value on your worth. Me telling you that you deserve better doesn’t matter unless you believe it. My wish is that you go from desperate to keep him to desperate to lose him.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • he will do it again and again no matter what he claims now in his desperate move to get you back
      trust me – I know from experience

      • Yes he will. And to the next woman and the next woman, etc. Until he squishes your soul and children like bugs and leaves.

        • I wish I’d found out my cheaters cheating before we got a mortgage together and got married. The signs were there and I ignored them. To my great cost 13 years later. He’s putting me through hell with the property settlement. Such cruel behaviour I would
          Have never thought possible from someone I thought was kind and gentle . When they cheat so early on in the relationship they are true sociopaths. Get. Out. Now. And thank your luck you found out early.

          • A general question out there post covid. 3 months out of divorce and quite emotional. Don’t want to make a decision that could impact my life badly. Is it a good idea to take out a mortgage immediately after divorce?

            I’m desperate to find a place to settle down and start living. Currently living with my brother who I discovered is also a cheater.

            • Well, it never hurts to find out how much you are qualified to borrow and then mull it over. It opens up options at any rate.

              I am so sorry that your brother is a cheater too. That is like pouring vinegar onto an open wound.

            • The mortgage rates are very low right now so it may benefit you in the long run. Plus do you want to be in close contact with another cheater ?

    • “The greatest man you have ever met” is not that great if he does not behave as if YOU are the greatest woman HE has ever met. His behavior tells me that he is a turd. Spankypants83 can have him. Your letter tells me that you have not yet met, the greatest man that ever lived. If so, you would know that your “man” is not great at all. You deserve better. You know this truth deep down or you would not have written CL. Sending you so much love. We are here for you. We have all been there in some way or another. You will find the strength and support you need right here in CN. Dump him. Find out that YOU are the greatest person you will ever meet.

      • “The greatest man you have ever met” is not that great if he does not behave as if YOU are the greatest woman HE has ever met.

        Perfection. I will be rolling around that sentence in my head for the rest of the week for sure. Thank you.

      • This is where it’s at.

        I still get hit with revelations of ‘oh. Wait. That time I did that thing. I came home early from working long distance to surprise him, and he GOT MAD… it was because he couldn’t go get hookers and do what he wanted.’ I get smacked with the understandings of how much I didn’t know, how deep the other side kept things.

        He’s not good. He’s good at being charming.

        And sorry- him ditching an important work gig… that’s not him showing you how much you mean to him. That’s him setting up you feeling responsible if he ends up unemployed which- news flash- sometimes happens if you’re screwing around with someone at work, or just wasting time at work being an asshole and setting up fuck meets on kik when you should be working.

        You wrote here because you’re smart. He’s not the guy for you. You deserve the actual best guy. The guy who might sometimes sit down and say ‘hey. We need to talk. I feel like we aren’t ok right now’ or ‘hey, I love you and want to make sure you feel special.’ Because being honest and making sure both people are not feeling a rut is important. Him being a douche and screwing around on kik (and in real life . People don’t stop at texting, promise) well…. that’s not your most awesome guy.

        He’s the guy who showed you lots of things you do appreciate, that will help you heal- you have some good things you know you like in a man. and he will also help you learn to use photoshop so you can still have good pictures of the past 4 years of your life. He’s good for lots of things. He’s just not good for you.

        • Langele,

          Pffft, it was 40 years for me, too. Thank you, Jesus, for plucking me from the bowels of what turned out to be 4 decades of deceit. At the time, I didn’t think I would survive, but looking back on it now, getting away from my XH was a whole new kind of salvation!

    • I agree. And consider it a gift that you found out now, before marriage and kids.

      My ex-wife cheated on me while engaged and later while we were married. Short flings, long affairs—you name it.

      Very good with the tears when it all came out.

      I wasted decades on her. At least I have the cancer from her STD exposure to remember her by (HPV).

      Move on!

      • So sorry, Jim. Correct me if I’m wrong but I learned recently that there’s no antibody blood test for HPV and it can only be diagnosed by visible lesions (or after cancer has set in and viral remnants can be detected in cancerous lesions). So even cheaters who claim their shmoops were “tested” can’t be certain they’re not exposed and exposing unwitting partners to silent infections which can lurk and spread for about two years. Even condoms don’t always protect.

        I hope you were able to sue that asshole. In a decades long relationship, it’s a certainty that an HPV infection came from infidelity. Somehow this part of cheating is never included in TV shows and movies romanticizing illicit fuckfests.

        • And to Desperate for good news– read above for the “wages of sin” in cheating: untenable risk of cancer you may not find out about for ten years. The only protection is to run screaming away from cheaters like they’re mass shooters on a rampage. They can quite literally kill you.

        • No, can’t test in men for it until lesions appear. It takes a couple of decades for the cancer to appear.

          We married young and I never cheated. So…

          Can’t sue for such things. Ironic that she cleared the virus and I did not—and never will despite expensive cancer treatments.

          Nobody talks about HPV risks from infidelity. Plus antivaxxers go nuts about giving kids a vaccine for it.

          Meanwhile, my cheating exwife essentially gave me throat cancer. Chemo, radiation, immunotherapy, 9 teeth pulled. Finances ruined.

          Sorry for thread jack. I posted to warn you off a secretive cheater. They can be a huge risk to your physical health and finances.

          No exaggeration.

        • OMG I just googled this HPV thing because I was diagnosed with it 18 years into my relationship with X-hole. And I never realised that it was an STD – he obviously cheated before leaving me for true love 6 years later. He is an even greater asshole than I thought. I am now 15 years later and in a much better position. If I could go back I would say to my younger self RUN don’t walk after my second child was born, so I still would have the kids.

            • There are variations of the HPV virus. Some are less dangerous but in any case, it’s nothing to mess with.

              Don’t have any sort of sex with a cheater.

            • Four strains of the hpv cause cancers-cervical,vulvar,penile,anal.And as you Jim had the great misfortune of experiencing head and neck cancers. The actor Michael Douglas talked openly about his battle and recovery.
              Please go to a good dentist every year people. They should feel your throat and examine your mouth and tongue. One had me use a rinse and check with a special light.

            • Frequent painful utis the last year of my marriage, herpes type 1 on my vagina, Hpv warts 6 months after dday and molluscum on my ass for 2.5 years. Cheaters fucking suck!

      • I had the best man ever- smart, funny, charming, successful, attractive, family oriented.
        He played everyone soooo well.
        2 kids and 17 years later – I know who I married.
        He cheated while we were dating, after we got engaged, during the whole marriage. Add a crazy gaslighting ( I had no idea what a narcissist, gaslighting, emotional abuse was, so haven’t seen all the red flags popping here and there)
        After 15 years I ended up with a STD, C-PTSD and completely destroyed heart.

        Run.

        Look for Marty.

        It won’t get better. I’m sorry- but it won’t.

        • I wish they gave an overview of personality disorders/mental health education in high school or something. I took a psych class in college & have an advanced degree yet I had no knowledge of narcissism until last year. I thought a narcissist was vain. Also learned of gaslighting, triangulation, devaluation, etc. last year. Thanks to my therapist and online resources I pieced together that I was discarded.

        • Me too Lisa. He played everyone with his greatest husband and gentle, kind, pro-feminist routine. Kept the mask on 24/7. He broke my heart, gave me a cancer scare, and now he’s being vindictive as possible with the divorce and property settlement. A true sociopath. I don’t think I’ll ever heal from the damage he’s done.

  • DO NOT continue a relationship with a man like this. A sex addiction (or claiming to have one to get sympathy) is a brutal path for the partner. Been there, done that. You’ll feel worthless, invisible, unwanted and unneeded. Run as fast as you can. I’m sure there’s probably porn in the picture as well. He might give up the other women but he will never give up the porn. It will only get worse if he’s not cheating.

    • 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 …. I’ll add to the list, Desperate: you’ll feel used, humiliated, gutted, devastated, terrorized, ashamed, grief-stricken, crazed, baffled, dismayed, disgusted, horrified, despair…..all.the.time!

      Run! Run like your hair is on fire and he is chasing you with a chainsaw. Go completely no contact. Get a protection order if necessary. Then spend a lot of quality time untangling your issues: find out why you would EVER think this sociopath was “the best man I ever knew.” That thought will destroy you. Invest in figuring that out, building your esteem, healing the part in you that is self-destructive. It will be the best time and effort ever spent.

    • And what is “sex addiction” other than a behavior. Does he get headaches, nausea and tremors if he doesn’t do it? Nah, he is just feeble minded and does what he wants in the moment. Mature Good men don’t have those issues. Run!!! It will hurt for awhile, that’s ok. The longer you stay, the longer the pain will last when you do leave.

  • Let me use this analogy… you were going ring shopping… and you see a ring that is perfect… it reflects back everything you’re dreaming of… but your “boyfriend” sees a different ring… it has a HUGE FLAW (let’s call is a cheating flaw) but he promises he’ll polish it up so great that you’ll never see it again (but the flaw is always there under the polish)… which ring do you accept?

    Me? I’d hold out for the perfect ring without a cheating flaw. You only have time as your sunk costs… kick him out today and restart the clock and your life. You deserve better.

  • Most men have a “sex addiction“, meaning, we really enjoy it. A lot of us just chose to participate with our wives or SO and not go outside the marriage or monogamous relationship. The term sex addiction in this context basically means entitled to do what I want and be sneaky about it.

    • If “sex addiction” meant “enjoying sex a lot” I think most women are addicted too.

      But yes, it’s as you say. “Sex addiction” as an excuse wielded by cheaters really means “my foremost commitment is to getting off whenever, wherever, and with whomever I want and I expect you to accommodate that, to feel sorry for me while I indulge myself, and become ever more skillful at the naked pick-me dance.”

      • Fair enough. I didn’t mean to imply anything negative about women, just that someone can enjoy sex but not step out for the “excitement”. I like to hope that there are single women who can really enjoy a monogamous sexual relationship but I suppose there are women who feel the same, especially on this site.

        • BBM–

          I tend to think sex addiction for either gender translates as just plain lovelessness. It’s the same way junk food junkies keep compulsively stuffing their faces because their bodies are screaming for real nutrition from the kind of food the junkie just can’t stand. They’ll eat the organic kale salad and free range grilled chicken whatever at the country club charity dinner to be seen as a wholesome, healthy person, but then want to throw it up and head to the 7-11 to snarf microwave tacos and bags of Cheetohs in the parking lot.

          Human beings without the capacity for love are terrifying animals. Call it a love allergy or “attachment disorder.” But the latter is the same condition that afflicts the most lethal domestic batterers. Not very reassuring.

            • Skeeter–

              I’ll bet that’s typical.

              The junk food junkie example was my rather minimizing analogy– that the loveless are emotionally malnourished by design and hanker for cheap replacements. But I actually think “sex addict” is just modern code for “sexual abuser + addict”– double whammy. A leading criminologist who’s written many books and studies on domestic abuse argues that intimate abusers use substances to facilitate abuse (liquid courage or as a alibi), not the other way around– meaning they don’t abuse because they’re addicts. The need to abuse comes first.

              Dealing with a plain old addict is bad enough. Anything can be heroin to an addict. It’s like a roulette wheel and finds different expressions every so often– booze one day, street drugs the next, prescription pills, food, risky investments and on and on. It takes years and years of single-minded reprogramming for addicts to be actually viable relationship material but at least there’s a glimmer of hope.

              On the other hand, abusers of other human beings are many shades darker and sexual abusers far darker than that. Someone capable of hurting others for the sake of sex is an abuser. Full stop. Bottles don’t scream out “Stop drinking me, I’m bleeding!” but human victims do. The level of callousness required is so different than substance abuse. Most of the studies on abusers are of those who land in prison and recidivism is about 98%. That 2% glimmer is only WITH the ultimate consequences (prison), plus anger management therapy.

              • Wasn’t that Brock Turner’s defense ? “Hey I was drunk and just getting some action.”

      • My ex was also a “sex addicted” woman. In my experience, sex addiction just means that they get to fuck around with anything that moves and then blame shift and verbally/physically abuse their partner while demanding sympathy from said partner because “sex addiction is a disease.” I’m disabled and she basically co-opted the language of anti-ableist activism to justify her rampant abuse.

        In my opinion, anyone who claims they are a “sex addict” is just a manipulative abuser looking for a label to justify their narcissistic actions.

        • “In my opinion, anyone who claims they are a “sex addict” is just a manipulative abuser looking for a label to justify their narcissistic actions.”

          I agree. That excuse just doesn’t sit well with me. It is like one who is a drug addict beating the crap out of his/her spouse and then saying, oh well I am a drug addict.

    • I have an interesting perspective on this business of gendered “sex addiction,” since my STBX cheater and I are both women. She certainly acted addicted after D-Day #2, couldn’t bring herself to end the affair for several weeks and used addictive language to describe her feelings. Over a year later, I managed to arrive at an understanding that STBX is addicted to ego supply – what CL calls kibbles – and that sex with a new partner is just the purest form of that supply. It *might* be possible to get physically addicted to dopamine and other chemicals that are released during sex, but STBX’s “addiction” to kibbles is definitely more of the attachment-disorder variety.

      It would be very interesting to see scientific studies around how all these possibilities operate in men and women, given gender conditioning from birth, but I won’t hold my breath, since the psychological “science” around sex and relationships seems very uneven, and riddled with anecdotal “evidence.”

      • There is no such thing as sex addiction. However, there is such a thing as narcissism and the entitlement that comes with it to use people as things to please yourself with.

        Sex addiction therapist profit off hopeful people like today’s letter writer that this is some kind of a “disease” that can be cured and fixed much like the RIC industry profits off chumps hoping that they can fix a cheater. In reality, you can’t.

        Here is a good discussion on this subject. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQKQDluThhk

        • By Dr Ramani Durvasula who is quite outspoken about narcissists and the bs they put people through, aka when you cross paths with one, RUN and don’t look back.

          • Yes, Dr. Ramini has great Youtube stuff and a book. I recommend her. I also ran across the discussion of limerence of new relationships that can go hand-in-hand with how the kibbles can affect the narcissist. Mine seemed in that state with the AP—like addicted to a narcotic–when I discovered the affair and confronted him.

        • The sex addict recovery group that my husband goes to has guys that are 70 years old and up. They don’t change. It gets worse over time. Vanilla variety sex doesn’t do it and they escalate. It’s like terminal cancer.

          I do understand it is complex to leave and extremely painful grieving the man you thought he was. You have seen behind his mask. That is a gift. Some here see it only after many years of marriage. The man he portrayed all those years isn’t the real him.

          He kept this to have his cake and eat it to and disregarded you. He did not give you information that would of given the choice to approve or reject an open relationship. What he is doing now to you is called “hoovering”. Look it up. It is tied to narcissists play book.

          Sex addiction is a symptom of narcissism and emotional stunting. Sex addiction isn’t people who enjoy sex immensely. Most people on the planet do. That’s a given. Sex addiction is exploiting objectifying and dehumanizing people and filling temporarily a void in a very empty soul. There is no love, no intimacy there. It is void. It is sex with the dead.

          • This is an EXCELLENT explanation of sex addiction–it involves USING people–“exploiting, objectifying, and dehumanizing people.”

            So when this jackass has sex with Desperate, what is that act to him? It’s like why men with a hooker habit aren’t attractive partners. What does sex mean to them anyway?

          • The last man I dated (briefly thank God) claimed to be practicing sexual sobriety. A Christian Jesus cheater, he cheated on his first wife with prostitutes during her first pregnancy. And the second marriage imploded because he ruined her financially and emotionally. She contracted vulvar cancer;both husbands were cheaters. During the second marriage he never worked,spending his days in front of his computer jerking off to porn. Not what he told me. I contacted second wife’s son via social media after I dumped him. After we started dating he announced to me one day that he put up a profile on Christian Mingle. Guess I wasn’t dancing hard enough. Not my circus anymore.

            • He’s in his sixties. Getting worse with age. He was driving around a poor black woman in his church. They would smoke weed that he bought and she would give him blow jobs. Exploitative creep.

  • You were looking at engagement rings together. This is a traumatic time, but you may have dodged a bullet. He’s finding excuses and blaming you, you know its not your fault. He has problems at work that’s his problem not yours.
    If he’s cheating on you now, what is he gonna be like if you marry him.
    If you have kids, cheaters tend to forget them, and financially aren’t responsible.

    • Yes, dodged a bullet! As is well known, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. You will always wonder what he’s up to. It doesn’t go away and you don’t want the anxiety of looking for signs. Let him go to his therapy to fix himself – most likely it’s just to win you back and not any deep self-examination. When I found out about my cheater the first time, he went through all those motions, but when it happened again and there was no chance of reconciliation, I asked if he was going to go to therapy, he said “Why would I do that? We’re splitting up anyway”. Entitlement and disregard for others is how these cheaters operate.

    • He is a LIAR, so how do you know his story about missing some event at work is true? My experience with Liars is that they lie about everything. My experience with lying cheaters is they have problems at work… always. Cut your losses and get out

      • I’m wondering if this liar is still employed ? A good possibility that when he blew off a work thing, he was canned.

        • And if he was canned, he probably needs a meal ticket, so: reconciliation. Cheaters always take the path of least effort. It’s easier to keep one than lure a new one, especially once you take them back after finding them out: they will expect you to again & again because, well, you did it once.
          #askmehowiknow
          #wishihadpaidattention30yearsago

      • Peregrine is right, liars lie about everything. It truly is a front row in hell to live with a liar, you end up with no future, no present, and no past. I am like a soap opera person who wakes up with amnesia, my past is gone. There was no truth to anything. Anyone who has that nagging feeling that something isn’t right, please pay attention. Do not disregard your instincts, your soul is trying to tell you something. Save yourself years of misery and get out now. Value yourself, figure out who you are in this and then move on to a better life. Godspeed.

      • I agree. Guaranteed the same lack of communication/ problem solving skills he’s demonstrated with you will leach into other areas of his life- interesting too that he seems to be inadvertently blaming you (again) for his work stuff-up.
        This is all about him blaming shifting and going for what HE wants. Heaven forbid he try TALKING to you about feeling like he’s in a rutt and DOING something to get himself out of it.
        Please run. It will only escalate. Go spend your energy and love on you.

      • Something sure doesn’t add up. I wonder if he was even going to work before that month-long trip he suddenly cancelled. He could have been terminated weeks or months ago, and was going somewhere else daily.

    • Yes, shopping for engagement rings, thinking she had the perfect guy and then finds out about his extracurricular activities. So I am curious how she found out. Did she suspect something and go through his phone, computer or did Mr. Wonderful confess? If he confessed he is possibly trying to back out of the engagement but if she found out going through his stuff she must have seen or experiences some red flags.

  • You didn’t create this problem and you can’t solve it. Stop with this … if we work together… You aren’t using a cheaters’ app on your phone.

    Hey’s been doing this behind your back for at least a year. Now think how many times he lied, hid from you and deceived you. This is no single, stupid mistake, this was a long chain of dishonest actions. Oh, and most probably it wasn’t only a year and he wasn’t only talking to these (wo)men.

    He doesn’t want other people to know his business? You mean, he’s into impression management? That’s something new we’ve never heard about before! (roll eyes).

    Sorry, you’ve got a petty, little, pathetic cheater there. You were lucky to find this out before you have other commitments with him. I hope that now you’ll also be clever and astute, not only lucky.

  • Quickie comment here . . . the sex addition thing, it’s a complete farce. It’s just an excuse wrapped up as a psychological disorder when in actuality, you’ve got a cheater who just really likes fucking other people. Whenever I hear people use the excuse they have a sex addiction, I pop a blood vessel in my eye.

    My starter husband years ago, was one of these idiots who claimed this malaise once or twice himself. I wasted almost 10 years with this loser. Don’t do that. If you breed with this turd, frankly it’s on you. He’s not going to suddenly be an upstanding dude. He’s showing you the shit you’re in for if you marry him.

    Run for the hills!

    • Problem points:
      -having a “sex addiction” is NOT “enjoying sex a lot”
      -a “sex addiction” is not even a thing, all it is is a debunked myth
      -it is sexist to believe only men “enjoy sex a lot” and expresses as well as creates more divide between sexes
      -personal lust should never be confused with marital / relationship lust

      Bottom line: there are a LOT of misconceptions applicable to non-cheaters as well as to what libido actually is and how relationships work. It is currently my professional scope of interest.

    • I kind of feel the same way when people spout about “midlife crisis”. Rumblekitty. It’s a load of BS—just an excuse to behave very very badly toward a loyal often long term partner or spouse. The narrative must change. People need to stop accepting these crappy excuses from crappy human beings

    • Thanks for saying that the sex addiction thing is a farce. Not that there aren’t promiscuous people–we all know there are. The farce is that they are “addicted” and therefore have no self-control. Hey, I’m “addicted” to chocolate but I can walk past the candy bar aisle when I decide to do that. I don’t need a 12-step program to put down the M&Ms. Guarantee that neither Mr. So-Called Sex Addict nor I will have the DTs or go into life-threatening withdrawal if we don’t get our “drug.”

  • How I wish I had left when I smelled the smoke three years in. I did not know then what I know now….no “hard evidence”…only suspicion. He lied about “being attracted” to a junior college “study partner”.

    Fast forward 24 years. I have a child with him, a business with him, and I do not know how much of HALF OF MY LIFE (27 years!!!) was real. I cannot get away from him. I have to stay connected to him forever because we have a child together.

    You are getting the oddly-wrapped gift of the 2 x 4 of Truth…way more crystal clear hard evidence than I got. If there is a God (that you intended to take wedding vows in front of) God is showing up now in a big unmistakable way to warn you.

    Not to minimize your pain in any way, but how I wish I’d heeded the memo three years in.

    And please stick close to Chump Lady and Chump Nation. You need some reprogramming on what a great man is. It’s NOT your boyfriend.

  • He is not the greatest man you ever met. You thought he was, but he was lying. The whole relationship was real on your part and fake on his. The man you loved didn’t exist. Get away from the jerk he really is.

  • Hey desperate – the greatest man you’ve ever met? That’s quite a load of spackle. Time for you to quit polishing his image. I know it’s disconcerting to find that you’re living with a turd masquerading as a human. You know what to do. Get ‘er done.

  • This is the best your relationship will ever be.

    Painful but true and I’m so sorry.

    As CL says – new(ish) relationship, ring shopping, planning for the future – this is meant to be the exciting, fun romantic time. This is as stress free as it gets. If he’s pulling this stuff now just imagine when life starts to kick in with it’s usual roadblocks.

  • Don’t let hair-splitting about what “actually” is and is not cheating sneak in, either. For one thing, deceptive people are deceptive, so he isn’t trustworthy enough with his word for it to make sense to believe him about specifics.

    Second and more importantly, even IF it was true that it was “only online”, it’s still deception, still devaluing, still a clear intent to seek “other”ness, in secret, as a counterpoint to what he claimed to be offering you.

    There are loads of nuanced specifics that can feasibly be described as “cheating”, but one thing is crystal clear for all of them: They all include deceiving you intentionally for their own self-gratifying gain, and doing that to a person requires lack of empathy, lack of respect, and lack of true caring.

    I hurt for you as you grieve the person you thought he was that he isn’t.

    It’s essential that you grieve that person and let go, because he’s already gone for good.

    This person you see now? The tears are for himself. The so called sacrifices are for himself. The therapist is for himself (and, really, they should be.) He doesn’t want to lose you. You make him appear stable and normal and trustworthy and socially complete. All deceivers want that. Effective deception requires an unassuming facade.

    Don’t be the facade, my friend.

  • This is a pivotal point in your life where if you continue with this piece of shit you’ll look back and kick your own ass for not getting out.

    Notice how he only realized he “fucked up” when he was caught? A year of cheating was just fine, but now that he’s caught he’s love bombing and running to therapy.

    This is all about damage control and keeping his nice life where he has you and his whores.

    He’s shown you who he is….there’s just part of you that doesn’t want to believe him.

    Drop. Him. Now.

  • “He bailed on a work thing”, which is, somehow, supposed to make up for the dating profiles, the cheating, the lies….oh, the lies. This person is a skilled manipulator. You had no idea you were in a rut? Would you have any idea in the future?

    While you were busy being honest and looking ahead to the future, this man was actively devaluing you, engaging in despicable behavior, and then fabricating reasons why it was OK for him to do so.

    Oh, and the ring? Apparently you passed the “decent appliance” test. You, my friend, are WAY more than that, and deserve better.

    • By “bailing on a work thing” this jerk is again demonstrating to you that he shirks responsibility in his life. By leaving his work colleagues high and dry he’s again showing you how he lacks foresight and commitment. He’s showing you through his actions that he consistently disregards and minimises the needs of others. Is this what you want in a life partner? Are these qualities you want your potential children to be exposed to?

  • Love can complicate things so let’s take it out of this situation for a second. If you were going to start a business with someone you found out was lying to you because he had FEELINGS, would you actually go into business with him? Would you risk your professional reputation, your credit score, and any potential legal ramifications for a person who appears to have it all together but is really a liar and a fraud?
    Think about it.

    • That’s a great way to look at it. Even though there is love in many ways marriage is a business arrangement, and the failure to address the business aspects of it often leads to a lot of trouble down the road.

      People forget that because love can be blinding.

      • Divorce is the PROOF that marriage is a business. It is SO much easier to get married than divorced!
        Best to let this one go, you will NOT regret thst

  • Ending this relationship now will be hard and brutal… and absolutely NOTHING compared to what it will be like in a few years, a decade, or 25 or 40….

    You are in the enviable position that we would all like to be in…. the enviable place of having been able to see the writing on the wall and walk away.

    Don’t be like us.

    • Omg this a million times over. How I long to go back and tell my young un-married self to pack up my shit and get the hell away at the first sign he didn’t really value me. I wasted my life on him. I deserved better. You say you “freaked out and said it’s over”? No, you didn’t freak out. That was your Inner Voice, that part deep inside you that knows what’s right, stopping you from ruining your life. Listen to that voice!

  • “don’t let this dodged bullet become a lodged bullet”

    O M G. I’ve been coming here for a LONG time and have never seen that one.

    Another remarkable phrase to retain forever 🥰🥰

  • To save you the mystery, he’ll respond to the fact that you wrote to ChumpLady or you telling him about ChumpLady’s response by saying a) that lady is bitter b) those people on that sight are bitter c) that’s not us, I never actually cheated (because adult men enjoy teasing themselves) d) I’ll show you I can change which will be sprinkled with hiding it better or shitty behavior arising occasionally e) all of the above.

    So many of us have stood where you stand. Where we saw the red flag early and we painted it over. We thought “oh no, my biological clock. I’ve lived with him for years. People will judge. I’m sure I’m special enough for him to work hard to repair it.” It is not worth it. There are amazing men out there who value marriage and family and would never do these sorts of things. If you are considering starting a family with someone, it isn’t about the ring but about them communicating with you during ruts as if you are a team. This will impact the lives of kids you may have, your career if you spend decades investigating his behaviors instead of building your skills, your mental and physical health if he keeps doing things like this. Honestly, save yourself. All of us writing to you care more about you than this guy because we are trying to prevent a bad fate that we faced, while he is handing you misery. I really hope you’ll hear it and take it to heart because you have the chance of walking away, not looking back, and building a great life with this being a minor scar. You may love him. That may mean a lot to you. But give that to someone who values your love, not occasionally values it or acts like a toddler who needs it 24/7 on his terms.

    • You forgot that we’re all jealous of their special love and are trying to sabotage them sp they’ll be miserable like all of us.

      Lol.

  • What popped out to me was “and now everyone at his work knows there’s something going on, which he hates people knowing his business”

    Yep… heard that, lived that. I now KNOW WHY my fuckwit hated people “knowing his business” because it made it possible to have many, many “irons” in the fire and to control the flow of information that circled back to me and vice versa. Though we traveled in the same work circles I became persona non grata at any casual afterwork functions; it was handwriting on the wall.

    Please get out! My heart being broken was terrible but the effect on my kids crushed my soul.

    • I’ve met and have been friends with people that are very secretive. Everything is under wraps and if they tell you something, they will preface or end with “Don’t tell anyone!”. I’m talking keeping a secret that is so silly, so lame, like going to a certain store or buying a household item. Way beyond just being a private person. They trust no one because they know they can’t be trusted. They make poor friends and poor partners. It has also been my experience these individuals change their persona every so often. Two that come to mind (they do not know each other) have went from pretending to be “captains of industry” (something they both failed at) to now hippies. The hippie thing seems a lot easier to pull off. Both cheated on their husbands, looking for something better, both are still married to their chumps. All 4 have a one lies and the other one swears to it dynamic.

  • Desperate: I am soooooo envious of you! For the reasons CL listed: you are NOT married to a douchebag, you have NOT bred with this idiot, you do NOT have financial ties with a dimwit.

    Please do not spackle. Get rid of this dead weight who has shown you very clearly how his mind and soul work: shallow, selfish, slovenly and stupid. This DOES NOT change. No matter how hard YOU try. Ask me how I know….

    You have a very light case of chumpiness and will build immunity (i.e., get to Meh) in no time and have a much improved picker.

  • I 100% think you should end the relationship.

    If you don’t though… PRENUP WITH A CHEATING CLAUSE. Have a lawyer write it, get it signed and notarized.

    (this is a cheating clause example that still needs legal vetting, I also don’t think prenups can include custody decisions)

    “As per this prenuptial agreement, the following are applicable regarding adultery that occurs during the marriage.

    Adultery is defined as consentual vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, or sexual genital touching with someone other than the spouse.

    Adultery may be proven by the ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard through circumstantial evidence that shows ‘disposition’ and ‘opportunity’ such as phone records, hotel receipts, written communication, etc.

    In this document, the spouse committing adultery shall be referred to as the adulterer, and the other spouse shall be referred to as the faithful spouse. Individual(s) outside the marriage who participate in the adultery shall be referred to as the paramour(s).

    ‘During the marriage’ is defined as any time after the marriage is begun up to when a legal separation is granted or a legal divorce is granted. Even if informal separation occurs or court documents are filed, the spouses are still considered married.

    The following shall apply if adultery occurs during the marriage

    1. The adulterer shall pay the faithful spouse 200% of any funds spent on a paramour or used to conduct the affair. If adultery occurs during a trip, all expenses on that trip shall be considered as used to conduct the affair. If the paramour stays overnight with the adulterer, the full rental rate, lease, or mortgage payment where they spent the night shall be considered as used to conduct the affair.

    2. The adulterer shall receive no more than 30% of the marital community assets, and the faithful spouse shall receive no less than 70% of the marital community assets.

    3. In calculating any child support, no income cap will be applied to the adulterer’s income.

    4. The faithful spouse will receive spousal support of at least 20% of the adulterer’s gross income for a minimum of 20 years. The adulterer will not receive any spousal support.

    5. The faithful spouse will have exclusive use of the marital residence during divorce proceedings.

    6. The adulterer shall pay for all legal fees incurred in the divorce proceedings.

    7. The adulterer shall pay the faithful spouse at least 25% of their gross income as family support during divorce proceedings.

    8. The paramour may not be in the presence of any minor children of the marriage or speak on a phone/video call within the hearing of any minor children of the marriage until the divorce is finalized. If this is violated, the faithful spouse shall receive an additional 5% of the marital community assets.

    9. The faithful spouse will have temporary exclusive use of all joint bank accounts and joint investment accounts during divorce proceedings.

    10. The adulterer may not withdraw more than $100 cash monthly or make any charitable donations during divorce proceedings.

    11. If the adulterer commits perjury during divorce proceedings, the faithful spouse shall receive an additional 1% of the marital community assets for every act of perjury.

    12. If the adulterer violates a court order during divorce proceedings, the faithful spouse shall receive an additional 1% of the marital community assets for every individual court order violation.

    13. If the adultery occurs while a spouse is pregnant or within one year of the birth of a child of the marriage, the faithful spouse shall receive an additional 5% of the marital community assets.

    14. The faithful spouse may choose to change the last name(s) of minor children of the marriage to their last or maiden name.

    15. If the faithful spouse files for divorce or separation, they are able to have sexual relationships outside of the marriage after 6 months without it being considered adultery in this prenuptial agreement.

    16. Factual statements about the adulterer’s conduct and affair are not considered ‘disparaging remarks’. ”

    Make adultery hurt.

    • First…..good grief why bother? Do NOT marry a cheater. End of.

      Second, legally, while great points, this is more wishful thinking than enforceable contract. Before you even play around with prenups and postnups, you better talk to several very good attorneys about that and whether it is even enforceable at all in your jurisdiction and whether any of these points are enforceable in particular in your particular jurisdiction. Bear in mind also, that if the court determines that if any of these points are unreasonable as per court opinion, not yours, then those parts will be tossed out….or the entire thing may be deemed unenforceable and thrown out. Each jurisdiction has specific rules on what can and cannot go into a prenup.

      Third, fuckwits aren’t always stupid and may well consult with a high quality lawyer who may read this, laugh and tell fuckwit to go ahead and sign away because it won’t matter as it’s not enforceable. So fuckwit signing this may well be another form of eff you and duping you some more while he laughs at you for feeling safe with your contract.

      But really……DO NOT MARRY A CHEATER!

      • I’m sorry you had such a strong, negative reaction to this. I don’t know your background with legal contracts.

        However…
        I have a prenup with a cheating clause.
        It is enforceable.
        It is a game changer in the divorce.
        My stbx cheater is not laughing.

        So don’t crush people’s hopes unnecessarily. A good contract includes an Enforceability clause that even if one provision is unenforceable, the rest is still legally valid.

        I have a cheating clause because FIL was having an affair, and it freaked me out. Stbx swore he hated adultery and would never do it… he happily and voluntarily signed the prenup.

        • I’m confused. You’re talking about a prenup and a soon to be ex in the same comment. Yet your father-in-law is the cheater. Please clarify.

  • PS…

    I think cheaters should partner with other cheaters.

    DETACH stands for Don’t Even Try And Change Him/Her.

    If you want a fixer-upper, buy a house. Everyone has issues, but it’s best to decide on a partner as they are, not on potentially how you wish they could be. Trying to make a monogamist out of a cheater is a recipe for failure and signing up for a boatload of heartache and misery.

    Most of all, I wish I could spare my daughter this terrible life injury. My greatest pain is how she has been impacted by this morally bankrupt emotionally immature bonehead and the dirty secrets he was associating with. Your future children deserve way better than this.

  • I believe there is a big difference between addiction and compulsion. I may be old school, but to me addiction is a physical link to a bad behavior, and there are physical consequences when an addict goes through withdrawal. If you are addicted to drugs, or alcohol, and those things are taken away, you get physically sick and traumatized. There is probably a whole slew of compulsions that may lead to the addiction, but the compulsions are mental, not physical, in my opinion.

    In my experience, compulsion is a mental disorder, an unhealthy way of thinking. It can start early in life, and develops over a lifetime of unhealthy choices, and becomes ingrained in the psychological outlook of the person with the compulsion. It is one thing to be a germaphobe, and compulsively clean, or to insist the closet is organized in a certain way, or a travel route never varies, and another to have a compulsion which hurts your partner’s physical health. The choices made by people who are sexually compulsive endangers not only their life, but any partner’s life. They lie all the time in order to continue to do what they want to do — they lie to you, to their other partners, to their families, to their friends. Random stranger sexual hook ups, false looking for a new life partner persona’s, are just ways sexual compulsives seek to fill a bottomless pit of need. Other people are useful to them, either as a sex partner, or a provider of money, status, a cover story — whatever they need to continue the secret life, and appear to be a normal person to the world at large. If you agree to be an enabler for these folks, you risk your health, your money, and even your own credibility.

    If you are more sexually conservative, it does not mean you do not enjoy sex. It means you have boundaries, and you don’t have sex with people if you do not share values and boundaries. If someone feels entitled to have sex at any time, with any one, and says it makes him/her feel better, that person is not concerned about his/her partner’s feelings.

    If you expect monogamy, this is not the partner you need. If you are ok with an open relationship, my understanding is there are still rules. Expect them to be broken. This compulsion is hard wired to the core personality of these folks. Every day is a new chance to snag someone new, or several new partners. Even at a family reunion, or funeral, or whenever you go out to eat, or the grocery store. The possibilities are endless. There is no remorse for the action, only for the consequences of getting caught.

    I believe, due to personal experience, that if you discover your partner has a porn compulsion, that is the tip of the ice burg for the discoveries you will make in the future. Porn caters to the primary viewer’s satisfaction, and view of sexual partners. The feelings, needs, hopes and dreams of the partners are never considered. They are used for immediate gratification, and then discarded. IMO, this is a clear indication of how the porn compulsive looks at everyone else in his/her world.

    If a compulsion does not negatively impact another person’s life, I am tolerant. Personally, I do not want to live in a world where all the can’s must be lined up in the cabinet, or I can’t go somewhere with my partner because they cannot use a public restroom. I understand this is a social problem for these folks, and I am sorry for the consequential anxiety they feel. It is my choice not to live with these problems. It is clearly my choice not to live with a sexual compulsive, My choice has to do with maintaining my own sanity and happiness. I do not feel I owe anyone else tolerance for living with their compulsive behavior. I don’t wish them harm, but I don’t need the drama and heartache. This is my personal decision, and I don’t see how my pursuit of happiness is any less important than whatever it takes for a compulsive person to live the way they want to live. I can choose to live with a compatible partner, or I can choose to live alone. Either way, I am not obligated to live with another person’s compulsion.

    • Yes. Brilliant actually. Thank you for this. I’m saving it. I’m being expected guilted and shamed for not forgiving quickly enough. Decades of lying and stealing and risking my health and my children who had inexplicable mental issues—shamed by everyone in their circle because I can’t move on and forgive (aka forget) in just a few weeks. A village of ppl shaming me, the victim of this albatross of deceit and cunning, bc the onus is on me to forgive and do so with an apology. No les. Bc I’ve been so hurt and angry I’m now a shrew and ungrateful and irrational. Bc addictions are hard. And should be forgiven.

      This village of sick fucks can blow it out their village idiot asses. No I don’t have to bounce back if decades of abuse in a few weeks. Label me a shrew. IDGAF anymore. I call myself rational. And someone with boundaries. Who doesn’t take shit from compulsives and their compulsive sick fuck friends. I wish I had their judgmental ease. I care. I cared too much. It was my damn downfall. And now I’m not caring deeply enough fast enough for them. Fk them. Fk them all. I’m in this camp. And I trust that he SUCKS.

      • I would move out of this “village of idiots” if you can. Or don’t share your feelings or the details of your trauma. Some sickos thrive on gossip.

  • You’re excited about the upcoming party. You bake a cake. You walk by the oven a few times to look though the glass window to see how it’s doing and it’s rising in a timely fashion and looking good, like it’s supposed to. The timer dings and it’s time to take it out. Oh the shock and dissapointment–the cake has fallen, with sunken crators here and there. What should you do? People are coming soon to celebrate with you. Everything was going to be wonderful and the cake was going to be perfect. Maybe you can make extra icing to cover up the dips and potholes, and put a few icing rosettes here and there to cover things up. Your guests might not even know the difference. But you will, and a few of them might figure it out. A fallen cake is dense and hard in places, doesn’t taste right, and places where the extra icing have been spackled are a mouthful of too much gooey sweetness. A false shored up cake should just go in the garbage. Cancel the party and tell your guests there may be a better one another day, or not. In the long run it doesn’t matter, and accidents happen. After a while you can tell everyone about the cake that fell and how glad you are that you cancelled the party. You’ll be surprised at how many of them will tell you their own similar stories, and how happy they are that yours ended well, in spite of how it seemed at the time.

    • Better still – have the party but with no cake.

      Tell your guests the truth about why the cake isn’t there.

      Your real friends will totally understand and support you.

      Your pretend friends will give you a lecture about what you did wrong, and how you should have faked that cake so that everyone would feel happy at the party.

      Instant relationship sorting device.

  • I want to add my two cents to the wise advice from other Chumps: RUN! A man who will cheat on you now, during what should be the happiest time in your relationship is a man who will be unavailable and/or cheating when you’re caring for a dying parent or a newborn, who won’t be able to pull it together to do the adulting if you are ill or injured and who won’t look beyond the tip of his own dick to make you or his children happy. He’s already told you who he is. Believe him.

    Cheating for a year means 365 days of half truths, concealed truth and outright lying. How do you know it was only a year and not the entire duration of your relationship? Because he said so. And he’s always so truthful, right? This isn’t a man you want to build a life with. You cannot count on him, and worse, you’ll be dancing to his tune for the rest of your life because if you don’t, he might be compelled to go out and fuck someone — he has needs, you know.

    Don’t be like me or many of the other chumps here — believe him when he told you who he is. I had all the information I needed to know that Mr. Sparkly Pants was a selfish, entitled user BEFORE I said those vows, and I wish I had paid attention and run like hell. Instead, I invested a quarter of a century in a man who was increasingly selfish, increasingly entitled and increasingly abusive as he carried on with an entire harem for those 25 years. You have the chance to get out before you breed with him, sign a mortgage with him or buy a business with him. I hope you do.

  • If there is one thing most (all?) married chumps agree on, it’s that we wish we had paid more attention to the red flags before we committed to our spouses.

    You still have the option to leave this man without having to divorce him.

    Do so.

    The noise you might hear as you leave is all of us clapping and cheering. And on the days you feel sad about leaving, (and you’ll have them for awhile,) you can post here, and we will remind you that you are smart and free and have a life of better opportunities in front of you).

  • So sorry Desperate. You have nothing to work with here. I’m exhausted just thinking about the effort you’ll have to put in to even reach a place of chronic paranoia with this guy. He’s a dirtbag. You can place whatever other label on it you want (sex addict, sad little lost boy). And, you should not date a dirtbag. That’s a life rule.

  • My first dday was the discovery that he was flirting, bordering on sexting, a skanky woman, possibly a sex worker, on facebook. I rationalized that it wasn’t terrible enough to end my then five month old marriage. A year later, I was hit with the full story – nonstop hookers, hookups, kinky dating sites, hitting on co-workers, copious amounts of porn and huge debt from all of it.

    I wish to God I’d left after the sexting – it was enough to know that during what should have been the honeymoon phase he was seeking out other women. You know this now. If during the easy part of a relationship he’s so stressed and in a rut, that he needs other women, just wait until shit gets real – bills, babies, health issues. Run!!!

  • Biggest red flag of all: He said he did this when he felt you were in a rut and to get attention and feel desired. YOU were completely unaware that he felt your relationship was in a rut. That, right there, shows that he is a horrible communicator and his need for attention and to feel desired are random. He is also subtly putting the blame on you for his behavior (if you had made him feel desired or given him enough attention then he wouldn’t have sought it from strangers). This speaks to his character and character is close to impossible to change. It’s their roadmap for living and effects how he relates to others in every way. Four and a half years invested is nothing compared to the damage he can do to children, finances and you over the long haul. Best of luck to you.

    • Yes, this is what struck out at me as well. When confronted it was because “he was in a rut and she had no idea. She thought their relationship was great.” and the fact that his “cure” for his rut is to cheat.

      He didn’t mess up, he knew all along what he is doing and is doing even now. Ask around how many fuckwits were all too eager to run off to pretend therapy to “fix” their foo issues and go right back to cheating once the dust settles and their chump starts to trust them again. You’ll get a few million responses.

      Pay attention to the subtle messages – he needed attention and the subtle message there is had you only paid more attention, gee maybe he wouldn’t have whored around. Your fault. He needs to take time off to go to therapy and gosh it’s causing work problems. Subtle message here is that it’s your fault he is uncomfortable at work because you threw a tantrum over his cheating you unreasonable woman. You are making his life uncomfortable and the subtle message you aren’t aware of yet…..he will punish you for this down the road, IF he dupes you back into a relationship with him.

      Please please listen to your initial gut instinct because it was the right one – kick this loser out of your life and never ever look back. You’ve dodged a huge bullet here. Do not go back and try to rationalize away what your gut is screaming at you – RUN.

  • I found the man of my dreams too. He was an amazing father figure to my son, my best friend, he was affectionate, caring, supportive, we had so much fun together and not to mention, he was pretty hot. I had finally hit the jackpot and was feeling so #blessed. I was so blessed in fact that when he told me he “used to” have a porn addiction but was fully recovered now that I filed that little tidbit of info away and didn’t give it a second thought as it tarnished that perfect image I had of him. I figured, we all have areas of life we wish we could improve in so I will give him grace.

    I wish someone had told me just how big of a red flag this was. I wish I knew more about narcissistic behavior and relationships. I wish someone had told me not to marry him. Not only did I marry him but he cheated when I was pregnant and he filed for divorce when our baby was three months old. He frequents all dating apps and hires escorts, flirts with his former students (let’s hope it’s not more than that). I’m not sure I would call it a sex addiction as I think this is just a part of being a disordered person in general. I would have never brought a child into this life. In my eyes, you have dodged a bullet. Allow me to be the person I wish I had back when I got engaged..Do NOT marry this person.

    • I agree with others comments he sounds like a user and con artist. Looking back I was very naive and generally believed that most people have a good moral compass. My ex even told me when we had sex in a car once, that he had never done that before (33 years old). He has since hired a trans prostitute that I know of among other risky sexual behaviors. I highly highly doubt you go from never having car sex to hiring escorts and having illicit affairs with a neighbor in a span of a couple of years. Some people are really not as they seem.

  • When people here tell you his behaviour is only the tip of the iceberg, they are speaking from experience. I too had a lovely live-in boyfriend, all sorts of attractive qualities it seemed. Then something made me think he wasn’t quite telling the truth. So I put a key logger on my laptop and let him use it for a month or two.

    Then I went back and audited his activity. What I found not only surprised me. I was genuinely shocked and appalled at what he was doing online, sometimes even sitting opposite me in the evening, supposedly browsing on the laptop. I counted over 300 attempted contacts with callgirls for quick bj’s over the course of that short while. Several successful meet ups. Also the money going out of his bank account showed he was paying for sex about every 48 hours. All this time he was coming home and having sex with me like nothing was amiss.

    His history which was revealed from emails going way back included dealing drugs, threatening people, weird sex, selling stolen items, chasing borderline underage girls (he was 37). To look at him you’d think he was a. Goody two-shoes. Perfectly well behaved in my presence.

    The only way I could possibly have known was that my spidey sense clocked a few details about his whereabouts at certain times not making sense. I felt no guilt whatever in acquiring his passwords and sussing him out. I proceeded to lock him out and get an STD test.

    Otherwise I would likely be fighting off a case of the clap by now.

    • This is very similar behavior to my ex although I wish I had been able to catch him like you did. I did however only base my suspicions off of a gut feeling that something was off as well. On the surface, his image is squeaky clean. Although I’m not so sure how long he can keep up the facade.

  • Desperate,

    You’ve been with him 4 1/2 years. I spent 4 1/2 years in therapy, with a therapist familiar with sex addiction and a separate trauma therapist, trying to recover from the covert emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse I suffered from (unknowingly) being in a relationship for over 30 years with a “sex addict”.

    As others here have said, he has shown you who he is. Please read everyone’s response and try to learn from our mistakes and/or experiences (I’m not implying in any way that we chumps are responsible for the abuse we suffered when we didn’t know what was going on).

    Desperate, YOU ARE ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES. I know you may not feel lucky now, but as CL said, you haven’t married him, you don’t have kids with him, you haven’t invested decades with him before finding out his secrets.

    As to your comments, “I could foresee us trying to make it work if it was a sex addiction, but do I want that kind of life? And can a man ever really recover from this or will it continue for the rest of our life?”,
    NO! He will not recover from this, and YES, it will continue for the rest of your lives. Not only will it continue, but his behaviors will escalate, getting more and more twisted and horrific. You will never fully trust him, and you will live with constant anxiety. He made his choices, let him live with it. RUN and never look back.

    Something I found when I was going through therapy made so much sense to me. I’m sorry I don’t know the author to give credit to:

    “The debate about sexual addiction aside, infidelity causes real and long-lasting harm to the faithful spouse. The underlying cause does not mitigate the damage to the faithful spouse, regardless of whether we accept or reject the sex addiction model.

    However, staying married to someone who behaves in ways that cause you lasting emotional and psychological damage requires a rethink. When they also OFFER A REASON WHY THEY MIGHT BE ‘COMPELLED’ TO DO IT AGAIN, be honest about what you’re prepared to accept and what you’re signing up for.

    Even if sexual addiction were well-founded, staying married to it might not be.”

    You’ve been given an amazing gift, the gift of knowledge before you were legally attached to him. If any of the responses resonate with you, take that as our chumpy gift to you also, get individual counseling, and live your best life.

  • “The greatest man I have ever met has been living with me for 3.5 years.”

    He’s been living with you for 3.5 years? You aren’t “living together”? He moved in with you?

    User. He’s a user. And you wrote this sentence with a straight face after he cheated on you. I’m not clear on whether you caught him just whacking off online with a cyber partner (expensive!!) or whether he was actually hooking up with these sleazy women. But it doesn’t matter. IT DOESN’T MATTER.

    One of the smartest things I’ve ever read about relationships was in a book about “emotional incest” by Patricia Love. The book is about the problem of parents crossing boundaries with kids, having a “golden child” or a child who functions as a substitute spouse. What I found helpful was a list of what spouses/partners provide to each other, exclusively. They are supposed to be financial partners (so they don’t divert resources. They are supposed to be each other’s primary emotional partner, so they provide emotional support. They are supposed to be each other’s primary social partner, so they go to events with each other, have date nights, etc. And if you agreed to a monogamous relationship, you are supposed to be each other’s sexual partner. When one partner breaks that bond, whether in an emotional, physical, or cyber situation, that’s infidelity.

    What you want to know is if this behavior is sincere, whether this man is worthy of your trust. Right now, I’d say “no,” and the minute he whines about YOU not trusting HIM, that’s a sign that he hasn’t changed a bit.

    I’d say it’s time for him to move out. Let him spend 6 months fixing his problems. Meanwhile, you take that 6 months and get to individual therapy to see why you think this guy is “the greatest man you’ve ever met.” What, exactly, are your standards? He’s a cheater, a liar. I suspect he’s a user living off your efforts. My further guess is that he’s a con artist. So get your life tangled from his. Watch him from a distance. Pay attention to what he DOES, not your made-up version of what he is.

    • *Get your life untangled from his. And by that I mean–no shared accounts, no shared living space, and ideally, no contact with him. Get away so you can think straight.

      • And by the way-it’s been FOUR DAYS! You are still in the denial stage, hoping that this problem isn’t real. It’s real. And chances are, you’ve only found the tip of the iceberg. If you are having trouble kicking him out, hire a private investigator. I’m betting he’s a lot worse than you think. He’s shown that he is not trustworthy.

        You don’t say how old you are. But guys who get off on cyber porn, sex websites, hookup sites, etc. are a special bunch, but not in a good way. They aren’t really interested in having exclusive partners and may get off (literally) on being with a stranger or a lot of variety.

        Is this what you thought you were signing up for? I doubt it.

  • That you wrote to CL means that on some level you know what you have to do. You’re lucky you can see such obvious 🚩 🚩 🚩 !!

    I know it hurts, but there’s nothing subtle here. Run from him!! Don’t look back. And maybe get a therapist to help you understand yourself better so you can avoid someone like him in the future.

    Signed, an internet stranger whose sunk cost is 35 years. Ouch. Don’t be me.

  • Dear Desperate,
    RUN! you deserve better. Get this guy gone and don’t look back. People like him do not get better. Then get therapy/support to learn from this. You have one wonderful precious life – and this is an opportunity to go on a better path.

  • I haven’t read any of the comments but I’m curious as to how she found out. Did she suspect something and go looking or did he confess out of the blue? Not that it really matters as she has nothing to work with here and he confessed that it had been going on for over a year, which means it was more than likely going on from the start of their relationship. This wasn’t a “He was curious and wanted one last roll in the hay with strange before getting married” one off type of cheating. This was consistent and this guy really felt entitled to go off and cheat. All the therapy in the world is not going to change this guy.

  • “Is this enough?” What, him putting himself first again?

    He’s “going to therapy.” Good, I hope he and his therapist get anywhere. But unless he’s going to tackle the actual reason for his deceiving you, risking your safety, and risking your love, while having encounters for a year at least, that’s not going anywhere. There’s an almost infinite number of emotional rabbit holes people can explore to dodge their problems. He can talk about his abusive whoever or his traumatic or unhappy whatever, and maybe it will help him, maybe he’ll get close to the problem and not confront it, maybe he’ll just decide he’s happier and can stop therapy.

    And what’s he going to therapy for? Seriously, if he knows what his problem is, why isn’t he centering it as that? “I decided to pick some people I thought were disposable for short-term encounters, all while not telling you I was unhappy” is a huge problem. So if he sees a way to address it, why isn’t he telling you how he’ll protect or help you as a result of his therapy? Why not tell you what his therapist thinks is their goal for their sessions? Why not talk about how the therapist has assessed him and what s/he thinks he can accomplish? Why not tell you that he’ll meet you on the other side of therapy, when he’s got his issues under control, and he’s in a healthy place to be a match?

    Because it’s about seeing what you think is enough. It’s about seeing what he has to do now in order to get you to play along.

  • I’m so glad you found out now. Before the ring was on your finger and before you could be entangled more. Please stay away from him. Use this as a jumping off point to think about how you want your life to be with a partner, and why you might just settle for someone who didn’t even make you a priority before you were married. Let the image you had of your future with him dissolve to show what you really were building your foundation on – lies and deceit when you perceived things were good… because he was faking it. Please step away from him, thank your friends and family who understand and want better for you, and move out or kick him out ASAP. Hugs.

  • You probably don’t need me to add my voice to the chorus here, but:

    RUN LIKE YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE.

    And read the archives here for a wonderful healing technique called No Contact.

    You are going to need this – it’s hard, but it’s the shortest and safest path to healing.

  • Desperate, you’re not this desperate.
    “ I could foresee us trying to make it work if it was a sex addiction, but do I want that kind of life?”

    NO. Look at how shallow his commitment was while letting you pick out an engagement ring. He’s creepy.

  • He’s a creepy liar. Why would anyone who didn’t have kids with such a creature want to stay with him?
    He will love bomb her and play her like a fiddle for awhile. Then he will get bored again. She will spend her time playing up to him so he doesn’t feel like he is in a ‘rut’. Pathetic.

  • Run run run as fast as you can. He won’t change. I did this exact thing… I married the man who messed up and begged for me back. Guess what— 3.5 years of marriage over to his 2 affairs BECAUSE “something was missing with us” … That something was morals, commitment, and human decency. 2 affairs in less than a year. Yes, I was dumb and stayed after the 1st affair to work it out when he begged. Guess what— it happened again. TRUST THAT HE SUCKS. Divorcing is much worse than ending an engagement.

    • As my late mother used to say “Engagements are made to be broken” She got engaged in the late 1950s and remembered how pissy and rude my father was to her during a visit at his parents summer home in the Poconos. Looking back, she said she should have fled then.
      I know three young women (all in their twenties) who extricated themselves from abusive relationships with cheaters. A wife, a fiancée and the girlfriend of a college football player. They have all found other men to either marry or become engaged to. It is possible. Nobody deserves to be treated like we have.

  • So hard to get your head around the mindfuck.

    That is who he is. You saw him without the mask. He’s trying to put his mask back on so you doubt what you saw. A cheater doesn’t stop being a cheater, they just become more careful about us finding out.

    We deserve better. Life with a cheater is not the life love and happiness than we deserve. They suck.

  • Congratulations Desperate! You are so incredibly lucky to find out so early in the game, I envy you. Take a look around this blog and see how many years us chumps have collectively wasted on these empty shells. They will take and take until you have nothing left and then blame you for their actions. In fact, he already is. He is doing this during what should be the honeymoon phase of your relationship. Mine never stopped cheating (prostitutes) when we got together. I just didn’t find out until 13 years later. And then I stupidly stayed through all his “epiphanies” on how he messed up, how I was his soul mate, it was a sex addiction, blah blah blah for another 11 years!

    You need to thank your lucky stars you found out before that ring was on your finger and you had kids. He will not change. He will just get more covert and you will get more and more vigilant.

    Oh and get checked for STIs pronto!

    • Please get checked for any asymptomatic venereal diseases you may have unknowingly contracted from the cheater. It could affect your fertility in the future should you want children.

  • Amazing that this posted today. I had the exact same thing happen at the weekend except the genders are reversed. Mine confessed to “infrequent meaningless sex” with the same guy from before we met and all the way through our 2 year relationship. She also likes to fire up her dating apps when she is unhappy because she likes the validation of people telling her how sexy she is (at age 64).
    I’m still undecided but like everyone here I’m probably going to run like my hair is on fire.
    Details on reddit

  • In a ‘rut’ means when he is horny and you aren’t around. That is how replaceable you are to him. When you get into counseling you are going to realize all the deceit and manipulation.

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